Tokyo stocks closed higher Tuesday with the benchmark Nikkei stock index advancing 1.44 percent on returning investor sentiment following markets in Europe and the U. S. closing higher overnight and ahead of key economic data due out later this week from the U.S. and Japan.
Brokers said that investors were enlivened by Wall Street and European stocks closing higher overnight and the U.S. dollar appreciating against the yen also spurred buying, they said.
Local analysts noted that specifically with the U.S. dollar rising to the mid-102 yen range, exporters were granted some relief as they rely on a weaker yen for their competitiveness in overseas markets and on increased earnings when profits are repatriated. Other issues also deemed oversold and undervalued of late where also snapped-up on the cheap, they said.
Masashi Akutsu, an equity strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., said overnight rises in U.S. and European shares worked as a "catalyst" to prompt a rebound on the Tokyo bourse as they came at a time when the domestic stocks "looked increasingly undervalued."
Other analysts said however that without the U.S. dollar moving much higher, it could be difficult for market players to chase issues much higher. "If the dollar doesn't move higher, it will be hard for Japan shares to go very much higher, regardless of how cheap they are," said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities.
Investors took heart in moves by the U.S. to provide financial aid to the Ukraine to beef up the funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), following political turmoil and violence there, but some brokers said that money markets hadn't yet been affected by the turmoil in the Ukraine.
Market players will be awaiting cues from upcoming economic indicators as they look to take positions ahead of April's sales tax hike here -- the impact of which continues to be a matter of debate among economists.
A slew of U.S. economic figures, including gross domestic product growth on Friday, are due out and being keenly awaited by investors as well as data on consumer confidence, durable goods orders and initial jobless claims, analysts here said.
On the domestic front, the ministries here are set to release data on unemployment and job seeking activity in Japan, as well as the all-important consumer price index and information on household spending. "Investors who have been hitting the sidelines recently as we' ve seen by the relatively thin volume of trade, will likely return once the data is released and take up firmer positions, based on cues here or in the U.S., or likely both,"one local equities strategist said